Blanding City Council addresses safe street crossing, other projects

The Blanding City Council approved a flashing sign for safe pedestrian crossing and received reports about elections and the city airport at their May 25 meeting.

At the previous council meeting Councilmember KD Perkins asked the city to address the safety of pedestrian crossing at Center Street and 100 West.

The large shade tree and the hill the intersection sits on has been a concern for Perkins and other community members as it is a common walking path for children heading to Blanding Elementary School.

At the May 25 meeting Public Works Director Terry Ekker presented an option for the council to purchase and install a rectangular rapid-flashing beacon crosswalk sign.

The crossing sign is solar powered and features a button that activates flashing lights on the sign to alert drivers that someone is attempting to cross the street.

A single quote for the system which would include two signs and the accompanying parts came in at $6,700 for the city. With Ekker committing to do some more looking around before purchasing the signs.

Along with the installation the council will spearhead training to be taught to elementary students with plans to install the signs by the start of the next school year. Mayor Joe B. Lyman also recommended that the city ask if the school district would be willing to contribute to the project.

At their previous meeting the council was informed installing a school zone and crossing guard was not an option as the use at the intersection does not meet the requirements from the Utah Department of Transportation. 

Another option floated at the May 11 meeting was to install a PVC pipe holder of crossing flags that children could use, although the issues of training and missing flags were concerns.

The purchase was approved as part of the 2021-2022 budget which was also approved at the meeting.

At the meeting the council also received an update from City Manager David Johnson on a few ongoing items.

Johnson reported through conversations with the county he was able to secure a polling place in Blanding for municipal elections. He also reported the city would have an upcoming cleanup day in partnership with the county.

Additionally, there was a brief update on the project to replace the baseball infield dirt. 

Recreation Director David Palmer has applied for a grant that could help fund the project. The city anticipates hearing back to find out if they received any grant funding in the next few weeks.

If the city does not receive funding, Johnson said Jimmy Johnson, will work to get up-to-date commitments from those who had been willing to donate labor and equipment to replace the dirt.

Finally, City Manager David Johnson also reported that a current city policy does not allow Blanding to hire those under 16 years old. Johnson says they’d like to change the policy soon to allow 14-year-olds to referee games and 15-year-olds to work as lifeguards for the city.

The council also received a report about a need to update equipment at the airport.

Community Development Director Bret Hosler reported that the State of Utah currently owns the weather station just west of the Airport property on Lyman’s farm. The equipment is old and needs to be replaced, and Hosler says the state has no desire to own the new weather station. 

Bids to replace the system and aid from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has fluctuated as the city has looked to address the issue. Hosler reported at the May 25 meeting that they have been able to receive bids closer to their original projections and could have the project completely funded by the FAA.

Hosler also reported that while the fuel pump station works at the airport, it is relatively slow and the city may need to make a decision on its replacement.

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